Thursday Training Tip #11 : Proper running form tips
Following my previous post of a parody on awkward running styles, I thought I would pull together a collection of information on good running form as a bit of a guide.
Disclaimer time: I’m not a professional, a coach, a physio or anatomical guru. I also don’t win races. I’m just a guy who loves running who also shares information I find useful for me and hope will be useful for you.
Try to review your form regularly when you’re running, every few minutes or any time where you ‘check in’ after a bout of daydreaming or distraction.
Now, there are a load of tips and tricks to help tweak your form, arms, legs, shoulders, breathing – too many to remember on their own. To help me when I’m running, I developed a chant of “U, A, B, C” to prompt me to review my form. Hopefully you will also find it useful to help keep a good running form:
U is for ‘You’:
- When you check-in do a body scan to see how you feel.
- Any niggles, unusual tightness or sharp pains are an indicator of trouble and you should pay them some attention to judge if they are fleeting troubles or indicative of impending injury. Stop running or start walking if you have sharp pains or any significant impairment in your ability to run.
U is for ‘Upright’:
- You should be standing tall, with a slight forward lean. Make sure your lean isn’t a tilt from the hips. Practice this feeling by standing up straight, then leaning forwards without bending at the hips, until your weight is on the balls of your feet (but not as far forwards as your toes). The lean will be slight, only about 1 degree, and your eyes should naturally fall on a point on the ground about 20m/50ft in front of you.
- If you start to slouch during a long run, reset your posture by taking a deep breath while standing up tall, then maintain that tall feeling.
A is for ‘Arms’:
- Your arms should moving forwards and backwards like a pendulum, loosely from the shoulders, not swinging across your torso.
- Check that your shoulders are relaxed. They should not be hunched, tense, pulled back or swinging too much.
- When running check your arms aren’t crossing in front of your zipper line, and that your zipper line is staying relatively straight, not being twisted like a pretzel.
- Here’s a link to a previous post about good arm swing technique, and try this video:
B is for ‘Breathing’:
- Your breathing should be deep, full, strong and in rhythm with your cadence.
- Here’s a link to my page on proper breathing technique for running.
C is for ‘Cycling’:
- Check your gait. Your legs should be cycling through, with an efficient knee lift (not high like a sprinters, but not straight legged like a robot), engagement of your glutes and hamstrings and without scrubbing your feet when they land.
- Your cadence should also be around 180 steps per minute. Cadence is hard when running outside. Practice on a treadmill set on your ‘comfortably fast’ pace, then count your footfalls for one minute. Count just one foot and try to get to 90 steps in a minute.
- Your footfall should be conducive to efficient flow and foot turnover. This doesn’t mean you have to be a forefoot striker; there is all sorts of debate and little consensus about optimum foot strike. The key is that your foot should hit the ground lightly then quickly roll forward (fast cadence will help this), with your foot-strike being under your centre of gravity to avoid the ‘braking’ that occurs when your foot lands in front of your COG.
- Here’s a video about good foot position when running:
Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to keep and eye on your form, improve your running, reduce likelihood of injury and make your running more enjoyable. And with luck you can try not to look like these guys (remember this is a parody):
I’m a ‘T-1000’ runner by the way…
Happy running everyone!
Get Going, Get Running!
A breath of fresh air : The correct breathing technique for running – getgoing-getrunning.com
Run with your arms – getgoing-getrunning.com
The Perfect Form – Running better, from head to toe – runnersworld.com
The Five Most Common Running Form Mistakes – running.competitor.com